Skip to main content

Full text of "The Gay Genius"

See other formats


OUTSIDE CHINA                             331

bourhood of the girl's home and who had died two years earlier.
During an anniversary of the monk's death, many friends and Budd-
hist followers came to make gifts of food for the benefit of the
deceased monk. The monk's spirit received these gifts and dis-
tributed the money to the fellow ghosts. Keeping only a little rice
for himself, the monk's ghost entered his house and then was robbed
by the doorkeeper and the other devils. In the end he got very
little. Then another monk arrived. He appeared to be an important
personage and all the devils prostrated themselves before him. The
monk then said to the others: 'This girl has been sent here by mis-
take. I will send her home.5 With wave of his hand he pointed at
a wall, and the girl walked through it. Then she came to a river
and saw a boat on the bank. She went up to the boat and when,
someone pushed the boat from the bank, the jerk waked her up and
she returned to life. I am writing this story down as a warning to
people."

During these years Kuo was his father's constant companion.
According to Su, Kuo was everything that a father could expect. He
not only did all the chores but also acted as secretary. Under the
guidance of the illustrious father, Kuo rapidly developed into a poet
and painter. Of all the three sons of Su Tungpo, it was Kuo who
became a writer of some importance and whose literary works are
preserved today. He was made to go through the training that Su
Tungpo himself underwent in his young days. He once copied the
entire Tang history as a help to memory, and after that was finished,
he started to copy the Han history. With his prodigious memory, Su
Tungpo still remembered every line that he had read in those histories,
and now and then, while he lay on his couch listening to his son recit-
ing these passages, he would point out certain parallels and make com-
ments on small details of the lives of the ancient scholars.

They suffered from having no good paper or brush, but with what
they had Kuo learned to paint bamboos and rocks and winter scenes.
About twenty years later, when Kuo was visiting the capital and stop-
ping at a monastery, some soldiers from the palace suddenly arrived
with a small sedan chair, ordering him to appear before His Majesty,
Emperor Huitsung. Kuo didn't know what it was all about, but he
had to obey. As soon as he got into the sedan chair, a screen was put
all around him, so that he could not see where he was going. The
sedan chair had no cover on top and someone held a large parasol
over him. He seemed to be carried along very fast, and after four
or five miles they arrived at a certain place. When he came out he
found himself standing in a covered corridor and somebody led him
to a beautiful hall. When he went in, he saw the Emperor sitting